Of course given Jane's long-held allegiance to the Sartarite cause, it was inevitable that I would play the Lunars. Sadly Jane, bless her, had put together armies based on the Lego mini figures she had available. This left me with any army that could quick kill almost nothing in Jane's army whilst everything in the Sartarite any could quick kill something in mine.
A plan was needed and that plan was to make sure I could anchor my flank on some impassable going and fight a defensive action. I might get lucky and if nothing else I could play for a draw.
I set up the terrain to represent Dragon Pass with diagonally opposite areas of impassable mountain ending in woods, and a couple of areas of Bad Going.
Jane was slightly freaked when I rolled a six on game turn one and opted to do nothing. She advanced her Sartarites led by her two-headed eagle flyer.
Turn after turn I remained in place. Eventually Jane's army arrived within bespelling range but a couple of attempts failed to get me the 6:1 that would see her Hero General ensorcelled.
What did happen, though, was that Jane's Paladin managed to leave her rear edge in the woods. At -2 to her combat factor the Paladin was suddenly worth attacking with a pair of double-ranked Spears. Two attempts saw me fail to kill the Paladin but the third time I rolled the number I needed and took out the Paladin and with her the anti-magic protection of Jane's Hero General.
A successful bespelling roll saw me win the battle but the victory was achieved mainly because of the steadfast courage of the Lunar Hero at the right hand end of the battle line. He held on for several turns despite being flanked and overlapped.
After Jane I faced Chris Pryme and, once more, the Gloranthan Chaos army. I don't recall a lot about this action except that it was long and intense. Chris handled the Chaos army well and I struggled to target his vulnerable Beast elements.
Avoiding his Behemoth, I decided to go for a right hook.
But then I veered left and a lot of the action took place on the lower slopes of a hill.
Whilst Amy and Jamie played a 15mm lizards vs Samurai game in the next table.
In the end I think I managed to take out Chris's General for the win.
Two wins on Sunday put me in with the big boys at the top end of the table. This is where the members of Coventry's Scimitar group are to be found. They are all excellent players and I usually expect to plummet back to Earth at this point.
Tony Green had a very nice Boudicca's revolt army.
It came down to a duel between Tony's Knight General and my Hero General. This situation...
... with Harrek flanked and hit in the rear by Druids resulted in a drawn fight and allowed me to turn Gunda into combat contact with Boudicca's flank thus guaranteeing a kill if I won.
Of course I was dead if Tony won. Equal factors and who ever threw higher won the battle. Mine's the blue die!
So with one game to go (against reigning champion Pete Duckworth) I was up among the leaders. If I beat Pete and Tony beat Steve Price the unthinkable could occur.
Pete fielded a Lord of the Rings army that was as nice as Tony's Britons.
Sadly for Pete his die rolling was as poor as Tony's. Somewhere along the line I managed to take out Aragorn to finish the weekend with six wins and a draw. And with Steve losing the last game to Tony I'd most improbably won the tournament!
I have to say luck played a huge part. If Mark Fry hadn't had to leave after Saturday to attend a family function and if Tony and Pete hadn't been struck down by the great PIP drought of 2015, I think I'd have struggled to get third.
As always HOTT Berkeley was a joy. The people are great and, to be honest, the only reason I've carried on attending as HOTT doesn't really excite me that much any more. My thanks to all concerned and especially to Steve for his continued efforts in mustering us each year.